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Although e-commerce technologies offer immense benefits, conducting any kind of online communications or transactions offers the potential for greater misuse of these technologies and even potential criminal activities. The issues of technology security and misuse are not only limited to e-commerce technologies, but rather are part of much broader issues affecting computer and information systems throughout the world. Each year, many organizations become the target of security-related crimes ranging from virus attacks to business fraud, including the theft of sensitive business information and confidential credit card information. These security attacks cost businesses millions of dollars and interrupt their operations. Many reporters and consultants estimate the cost of damages related to security breaches as billions of dollars. However, it is not the issue of the accuracy of the range of damages, but rather the fact that with the everincreasing number of users of information systems, easy access to information, and the increasing number of knowledgeable users, one can easily assume that the number of technology misuses and security threats will increase proportionally.
Regrettably, the true extent of damages incurred by businesses related to information security crime cannot truly be known due to the fact that many businesses are reluctant to admit that their systems were infiltrated, and to share knowledge about the incident and the extent of the damage. The reluctance of businesses to share information regarding their security breaches is based on a common fear that by allowing the public to learn about the incident, their customers will lose confidence in the business's ability to protect its assets and the business will lose customers in turn losing their profitability. Because today's consumer is leery of providing financial information online, the business has nothing to gain by voluntarily admitting to having been victimized by security-related crimes. In today's media frenzy regarding the Internet and its functions, maintaining a positive image regarding e-commerce security is the number one concern of many businesses and completely necessary to maintaining the business's survivability and competitive stance.
The lack of the first-hand knowledge of the actual cases makes it much more difficult to plan and deal with information security threats. However, during the past decade, information security technologies and methodologies have improved considerably, as have overall management practices in planning and protecting organizational information technology resources. There are now experts specializing in the field of cybersecurity, which has much to do with all activities related to the protection of e-commerce technologies and practices from potential criminals in cyberspace. In addition to security measures designed to protect information technology resources, many businesses are realizing that being successful in e- commerce endeavors requires significant investment and planning in developing a total security program to protect their Internet investment and to prevent criminals from infiltrating their systems and causing damage to the e-commerce endeavors.
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